CRISTIANO RONALDO set his sights on the summit of Europe after striking 11 minutes from time with a header to send Portugal into the last four of the tournament.
The world's most expensive player hit the woodwork twice on an initially frustrating evening, but crowned Portugal's dominant second-half display against the Czech Republic with his third goal of the competition, nodding Joao Moutinho's cross down and into the net in the 1-0 victory.
It was an impressive display from the Portuguese who were appearing in their fifth European Championship quarter-final in a row and will now play Spain or France in a last-four showdown in Donetsk next Wednesday.
"It was a fantastic game for Portugal," said man-of-the-match Ronaldo. "In the first 20 minutes we weren't that good but then we improved a lot. We had a lot of opportunities. The Czechs didn't have any – that's a great game. I think the chances (of reaching the final) are 50-50 and we just have to believe in it."
"We created many chances and hit the post, but it is brilliant for us to have passed into the semi-finals. We know it is going to be difficult, but we are ready, we are confident. We are very mature, so we are ready for the fight."
Portugal coach Paulo Bento felt his side grew into the game and deserved their place in the semi-finals. He said: "We did not start the match well in attack for the first 25 minutes, then we showed a great response in the second half, a great capacity to respond to the Czechs and that is why we really deserved this victory.
"We had prepared ourselves in the best possible way for their strategy. We knew they would try to defend very deeply and would press against us on the counter-attack, because they have very quick players who are good technically."
Despite Ronaldo grabbing the headlines, Bento was reluctant to single out any individual performances.
"All the players have tasks on the pitch, and Ronaldo played to our tactical system," the Port-ugal coach said. "He has the capacity to play in the penalty area, but also a little deeper."
Bento maintains his side will be ready for whoever they face next. He added: "In the semi- finals of a tournament like this, there are always great teams with different characteristics who are well organised with players of great quality," he said. We do not prefer [to play] anybody.
"It has been a lot of work by us to reach the semi-finals and we will try to recover to reach the pitch in the best condition. We will show the response which is necessary. Our aim will be to win against France or Spain. There cannot be any other goal for us."
Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek felt his squad could be proud of their achievements in reaching the last eight, especially after being thumped 4-1 by Russia in their opening group game.
"We were disappointed as we were really looking forward to fighting in the semis and then the final, but we have played well at the tournament," he said. "They were more dangerous and had more chances, but we fought very hard."